Politics eyed as motive in Tawi-Tawi Vice Mayor Ali slay

Rambo Talabong
Politics eyed as motive in Tawi-Tawi Vice Mayor Ali slay
Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde says Sapa-Sapa Vice Mayor Al Rashid Mohammad Ali was 'being groomed' as the town's next mayor

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) is looking at politics as a motive in the killing of Sapa-Sapa, Tawi-Tawi Vice Mayor Al Rashid Mohammad Ali, top cop Oscar Albayalde announced on Thursday, July 12.

In a chance interview after Albayalde appeared at a firearms conference in Pasig City, a reporter asked about politics as a possible motive behind Ali’s killing.

The PNP chief replied: Sa ngayon ‘yun ang sinasabi, ‘yun ang nakikita natin na motibo. That’s one indication, pero of course, we do not want to close in doon lang sa political motivation.”

“[Pero] wala naman sinasabing kaaway itong vice mayor, at wala silang nakikitang ibang dahilan, so far, besides doon sa ginu-groom bilang kapalit ng kanyang ama na mayor doon sa kanilang municipality,” Albayalde added.

(Right now, that is what we are told, that is what we are seeing as the motive. That’s one indication, but of course, we don’t want to zero in on just the political motivation. [But] we have not heard of the vice mayor having any enemies, and we are not seeing other reasons so far aside from he was being groomed by his father, the mayor there, as a successor.)

Albayalde was referring to the vice mayor being the son of Sapa-Sapa Mayor Alsaggab Mohammad Ali, who won with around 46.3% of the votes in their town in 2016. He was trailed in the ballot by Putli Aisa Matolo and Hapipi Lipae.

Vice Mayor Ali is not in the government’s infamous drug watch list, according to Albayalde.

Ali is the 6th vice mayor to be killed under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, following the assassination of Trece Martires City Vice Mayor Alexander Lubigan just 4 days earlier.

As in the case of Ali, cops are also looking at heated local politics as the motive behind Lubigan’s slay, killed just a day after he announced to his inner circle that he was planning to run for mayor in 2019– Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.